Monthly Archives: June 2015

5 Stars for Devil’s Food at Dusk (Just Desserts #3) by M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin #MM #Romance @mjosheaseattle @missannamartin @Dreamspinners

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Title: Devil’s Food at Dusk (Just Desserts #3)
Author Name & Publisher: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin (Dreamspiners Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 22, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Joe Fitzgerald hates New Orleans, but he’s stuck there until he convinces one stubborn local family to sell Lumière, the crumbling French Quarter restaurant they’ve owned for generations. The place is a wreck, and it’s hemorrhaging money. Joe figures he’s their best chance for survival.

Remy Babineaux despises Pineapple Joe’s and everything the chain stands for. He refuses to let Lumière become some tacky corporate tourist trap. Theme drinks and plastic beads in his restaurant? Yeah, right. Over his dead, rotting corpse. The last thing Remy wants is a meeting with the restaurant chain’s representative, but his father agreed to at least listen to the proposal. There’s nothing Remy can do about it.

Remy figures an anonymous hookup is exactly what he needs to decompress. When he ends up across the table from his fling the next morning, real sparks fly. Joe refuses to give up his prime location; Remy refuses to give up his legacy. It’s war, and they’re both determined to win at any cost. Neither of them counted on falling in love.

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Review

FiveStars

This book made me feel like I was actually present in New Orleans. Descriptions of the sights, smells, sounds and flavours of the city are recorded in exquisite, sensual detail. Add in a beautiful, brooding chef and this story is pure fantasy.

Remy is a fantastic main character. The authors introduce him against the backdrops of his family and his restaurant which in turn add colour and passion to an already attractive man. The Babineaux family is wonderful – I love the colour, the clashes and the easy inter-generational living. The restaurant – fresh and local, balancing innovation with a family tradition – is somewhere I would happily spend every night.

I really struggled to warm to Joe – but that was always the point of the story. His abrasive, cut-throat persona is gently softened over the course of the book as he spends more time with the Babineaux family, but I’m not sure I can ever forgive his behaviour.

This is the story of a family as much as it is a romance. I loved the interactions between members of the Babineaux clan as much as I loved the descriptions of food and the steamy sex scenes. What a fantastic book!

Sarah

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TWO 4 Star Reviews for Italian Ice (Precious Gems #2) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: Italian Ice (Precious Gems #2)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 1, 2012 – 290 pgs

Synopsis

In this exciting sequel to Rarer Than Rubies, gay romance author Trent Copeland and former FBI agent Reed Action head to Italy for a Roman holiday. What should be a relaxing and romantic vacation is interrupted when Reed’s not-so-former boss asks for his help with a case. Trent’s shocked to discover in the six months they’ve been living together in LA, Reed hasn’t been completely honest about his “retirement.”

Reed heads for Sicily on the trail of a suspected antiquities-smuggling ring and to find Peter Isett—a former FBI partner he also hasn’t been completely truthful about. Stung by Reed’s dishonesty, Trent questions what else Reed might be hiding. But when he overhears something that tells him Reed’s life is in danger, Trent follows Reed to a remote chain of ancient volcanic islands off Sicily’s northern coast. Soon Trent is caught up in the smugglers’ web, and Reed must decide between his heart and his mission—a decision complicated by his past with Peter. Reed’s position is perilous: unless he can learn to put the past behind him, he risks destroying everything he’s built with Trent.

See Reviews for Rarer Than Rubies (Book One)

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Review

FourStars

Italy is beautiful, the food is magnificent and Reed and Trent are irresistible in the second Precious Gems book.

The men become true partners here, with Trent proving himself independent and very capable. Reese and and Trent are starting to work together and Reed is finally starting to value Trent’s skills.

Once again, the plot is pretty difficult to untangle as the story unfolds, but this time I understood everything by the time I finished the book. The villains are written more clearly as fully developed characters in this book and I enjoyed trying to work out which characters were friends and which were enemies in Lynley’s cast of shady secondary characters.

This was a well-crafted, exciting story featuring two wonderful lead characters that I’m growing quite attached to.

Sarah

FourStars

The writing was still impressive. The attention to details this author provides is incredible. You can tell by her writing that she knows what she is talking about and you are captivated by the story. Nothing is perfect and what I enjoyed about this story was that the author didn’t give them a sugar-coated relationship. Trent and Reed had real and valid difficulties in their relationship and that just endeared them to me even more.  It was a sometimes heart-breaking but enjoyable Journey with our two Hero’s! And very happy to have the next one in the series, Jaded!!

Kimberley

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5 and 4 Stars for Dallas in Wonderland by Evan Gilbert #MMM #Erotica @Dreamspinners

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TitleDallas in Wonderland
Author Name & Publisher: Evan Gilbert (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 20, 2015 – 89 pgs

Synopsis

Dallas Fox owns porn movie studio Wonderland and for him, sex is all about business. He hasn’t felt passion in a long time, so he is surprised when he develops an attraction for Johnny Roman, a college student who has recently become a porn actor for the studio, and Miguel Duarte, an office assistant. Dallas is even more surprised when he realizes they are as interested in him as they are in each other. Those attractions violate Dallas’s number one rule: no mixing business and pleasure.

Dallas slowly lets his guard down, and eventually winds up in bed with both Johnny and Miguel. Their painful backgrounds are similar, and they begin forging bonds that could grow into something much deeper. Miguel, however, faces a threat that could endanger them all and destroy any chance of finding the romance they want and need.

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Review

FiveStars

This was an interesting book for me. I just read a pretty heavy book emotionally and this one started out the same way, but it ended up taking me on a great journey of the coming together of three very different men who are at very different and difficult times in their lives.
I really liked the way that each of them was needed in the relationship to make it work for all of them and the resolution of Miguel’s little problem was actually a little funny. I liked the way it all worked back together, although I was still a bit sad about his roommate.
This was a very quick read for me that I found entertaining and quite sexy at time even though there was a lot going on with three men, three sets of lips and six hands all going in different directions at times.
Renee

FourStars

I really loved all three characters in this short story. From the start, Dallas was my favourite; I loved the steely power behind the twink facade. The author imbues the graphic detail in his porn scenes with a sense of humour and a touch of realism while the connection between his three leads is sweetly emotional.

Organised crime and family rejection are pretty hefty subjects for such a short story. In a full length novel, there would have been space to fully work through the problems the men faced. As it was, much of the plot felt rushed.

But never mind the plot. The sex is hot, the men are beautiful and the emotions feel real.

Sarah

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3 Stars for The Carpenter (Workplace Encounters #5) by Serena Yates #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners @SerenaYates

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Title: The Carpenter (Workplace Encounters #5)
Author Name & Publisher: Serena Yates
Publication Date & Length: June 17, 2015 – 120 pgs

Synopsis

Tom Halderson is a carpenter in desperate need of a big project to save the financially troubled construction company he inherited from his father. Tom is a better carpenter than a businessman, and worse yet, Tom’s estranged brother suddenly demands his share of the inheritance. When Matt Langford hires Tom to renovate his house, things begin to look up. A safari guide, Matt plans to restore and sell the home his grandfather left him and return to his exciting life in Africa. He is not about to let his sudden—and powerful—attraction to Tom persuade him to settle down—not after infidelity destroyed his own family. But adventurous Matt is exactly what Tom’s life is lacking, and Tom is determined to show Matt what could be between them.

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Review

ThreeStar

A struggling builder falls for his client. Add an evil scheming brother, a homophobic father and past domestic abuse and a simple plot becomes rather complicated.

I really liked Matt as a romantic lead, battling to help Tom. I find period home renovations fascinating and this offered up some great property porn. I didn’t really warm to Tom, though, and this is really his story. The combination of his abusive relationship and the way Derek treats him made Tom more victim than romantic lead for most of the story.

I also felt that the Derek storyline was a little overblown. He wants the company so he destroys it? It didn’t make much sense to me.

Beyond the drama, this is a simple romance. The men are hot and the sex is hot. Although the relationship feels rushed in parts, the connection between the two men is sweet.

Sarah

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4 Stars for Letters From a Cowboy (Morning Report #4) by Sue Brown #MM #Cowboy @dreamspinners

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Title: Letters From a Cowboy (Morning Report #4)
Author Name & Publisher: Sue Brown (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 10, 2015 – 154 pgs

Synopsis

A Morning Report Story

Simon Wood arrives at Tamar Ranch looking for a job after being fired from his last position for seducing the boss’s son. It doesn’t take much for him to prove his skills with horses, so he’s taken on, but soon he clashes hard with Chip Henson.

The animosity between them hides something very different, but not for long. No matter how hard they try to resist their attraction, eventually they give in to their need. They start leaving notes for each other, and others notice and warn them to be more careful.

Fearful of discovery, Simon leaves Tamar Ranch to save Chip’s job. When he learns that his departure sent Chip off the rails, he knows he needs to risk everything and go back for him.

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Review

FourStars

This is a dark, troubling and gritty story. Providing a horrifying look at life for gay cowboys in 1950’s Texas, it offers insights into the discrimination faced by anyone other than straight, white men. I think I was crying by the second or third chapter.

There were a couple of time changes at the start of the story that I struggled to follow, but otherwise, Chip and Simon’s story is told slowly and carefully. The central relationship isn’t necessarily romantic, but it is realistic. Closeted for survival, there isn’t much room for romance, but the two men fall hard for each other in a painful, believable way.

I really loved Simon’s character. His way with the horses, his kindness to the vulnerable – he is what every girl imagines a cowboy to be. I was never as keen on Chip – actually, part of me wanted Simon to end up with Manuel. I know Chip was flawed, troubled and human, but I just didn’t see what Simon saw in him.

By about three-quarters of the way through, Simon and Chip’s prospects began to feel hopeless and I was needing to put the book down. Fortunately, the end is really beautiful. Without spoiling the story, I was really impressed with the way the author manages to lighten the book at the end without compromising the realism she has worked so hard for.

Sarah

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New Release: Model Citezen by Lissa Kasey #MM #Mystery @parisbvamp @Dreamspinners

LissaKasey_ModelCitizen_ORIG

Title: Model Citizen
Author Name & Publisher: Lissa Kasey (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 22, 2015 – 220 pgs

Synopsis

Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

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Excerpt

“Christ, man up and stow it, D. Else he’s gonna come down to finish us off,” I growled at Donovan. I glanced up toward the stairs, searching for the shooter. We were still in the open, easy targets. Fuck, fuck, fuck! I dragged Donovan toward the car, hating that I had to use the VW as a shield. Maybe Nathan was right and I should have picked a bigger car. He’d wanted me in an Escalade, or something bigger if he could have found it. I told him I didn’t have anything to compensate for and bought the VW. An Escalade would have provided better protection from shotgun bullets.

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TWO 5 and TWO 4 Star Reviews for Helping Hand by Jay Northcote #MM #Romance @jay_northcote

Helping Hand_FINAL

Title: Helping Hand
Author Name : Jay Northcote
Publication Date & Length: June 26, 2015 – 33, 000 Words

Synopsis

Wanking with a mate isn’t gay—as long as you keep your hands to yourself.

Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie—Big Mac to his mates—are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.

When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly, unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.

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Review

FourStars

This is a smutty, good-natured new adult romp. Two university roommates in a shared house accidentally start to explore their gay sides one drunken evening.

The story is as advertised. Bedtime or bathtime reading, not necessarily one for a public transit commute. For an erotic short story it is very well written. The characters are carefully drawn, the late adolescent angst is almost palpable and the sex scenes are very, very hot.

There aren’t many UK m/m authors, so Northcote’s British language and setting was a pleasant surprise. I’m guessing that any UK fans of Channel 4’s Fresh Meat will have no trouble imagining Mac, Jez and their shared house.

This is a very sexy short story that manages to be hot without being cheezy. Northcote even adds a little emotion and a touch of humour. A good read.

Sarah

FiveStars

I have been a part of Inked Rainbow Reads for over a year, and when this book was posted requesting reviewers, I have never seen such a frenzy to get it. The blurb was a riot and we all pounced on it.  The title really is perfect.

This felt like a quick read, but it packs a punch. I have never read this author before (I say that a lot in my reviews), but I really enjoyed her style. Jay Northcote gives us a very sexy, heart-pounding story with two very lovable characters, Jez and Mac. They aren’t perfect and that is what I love when reading, imperfect characters. This story had humour, wit, heart-felt moments that will endear the characters to you. And, the whole reason for the title….. oh YES, some steamyyyyyy sexy times!!!!!! I do love me some smutt, with my stories 🙂 It felt like you were a fly on the wall, you could feel the intensity between Jez and Mac, with heart-pounding clarity! I will definitely read more from this author.

Thank you Jay Northcote for giving us two fun, intense characters.
Reviewer: Kimberley
FourStars
Jez and Mac were just two guys going through the motions of what they perceived to be normal college life.  I really liked these characters.  Their willingness to explore the sometimes awkward feelings they were having, their unwillingness to completely leave each other behind.I wanted to slap some of their roommates and even them sometimes – to just get their head out of the clouds and realize what they had was something special.These two characters really do some self discovery and soul searching and this story shows how special total acceptance and friendship can become so much more.
AvidReader
FiveStars
I picked this one up because I thought the premise sounded fun and because guys jerking off is hot. To my delight, I got much more than simple entertainment and fun out of this wonderful story.

To be honest, I was afraid it was going to be another “gay for you” or “suddenly gay” story—not one of my favorite tropes, but I was willing to lay that aside for a fun read. Instead, I was beyond happy to find something about a genuinely bisexual young man coming to terms with his identity and embracing it in full. My favorite line in the whole thing is when Jez says “his bisexuality wasn’t a phase, and even if he ended up with a woman, it wouldn’t mean he was magically straight.” Because yes, that’s how bisexuality works, and I loved reading it right there in print. All my thank you’s go to the author for saying it.

On the other side, Mac’s reaction is equally realistic. He’s not ready to embrace an identity word, and that’s perfectly fine. But neither does he deny who he is, and I loved that as well. Rather than just a “gay for you” story, he’s still thinking about and working through complex feelings. Though the story is told only from Jez’s perspective, I still felt like I had a good sense of where Mac was coming from.

I was at first worried about how Josh (the only actually gay character) was portrayed. I was afraid he might try to convince the others they were “really gay” (this happens in real life). He didn’t, though, and I loved the nuances, both with Josh and with their somewhat homophobic roommate Shawn.
I’m beyond thrilled at the way such a serious topic was handled with fun, humor, and grace in such a short space. Oh, and also? The sex was hot.
5 stars (but I’d give it 10 if I had ’em)
Amy

Excerpt

Afterwards, Jez blamed the alcohol for loosening his tongue, because he didn’t think about it before he spoke. The words tumbled out before he could stop them.

“Man, I’m seriously horny now. Have you got any decent porn on that laptop?”

“Huh?” Mac snapped his head around to meet Jez’s gaze. Jez’s heart pounded erratically, but his dick was still standing to attention. “What… you mean, you want to wank in here? Now? Wouldn’t that be weird?” Mac sounded seriously freaked out.

Jez backtracked quickly, cheeks hot. “It doesn’t have to be weird. I’ve done it before with guys at school, and it’s never been a big deal. But don’t worry about it. I’ll go and watch my own stash instead. But I need something soon, ’cause I’m gonna explode after watching that sex scene.”

Jez was expecting an instant no from Mac. He wouldn’t have blamed him. A lot of guys wouldn’t be into what Jez was suggesting. Jez’s heart still thumped hard, but his arousal didn’t abate despite his anxiety. He was shocked by how much he wanted this.

Mac bit his lip and frowned. “Seriously. You’ve done that?”

Jez shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. “Yeah. Like I said, it was no big deal. Just guys messing around.”

Mac stared a moment longer, then he stood, and Jez’s heart sank as he walked away. But Mac only went to fetch his laptop from the dining table. He sat back down and then opened it and tapped in his password.

“What sort of stuff do you wanna watch?” Mac’s voice was gruff and he focused on the screen rather than Jez.

Fuck. They were really going to do this, then.

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4 stars for Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L. Justice @FaithLJustice #FF #historical

Glad I ebook cover 400x604

Title: Sword of the Gladiatrix
Author Name: Faith L. Justice
Publication Date & Length: April 27th, 2015 — 260 pages

Synopsis

From the far edges of the Empire, two women come to battle on the hot sands of the arena in Nero’s Rome. They seek to replace lost friendship, love, and family in each other’s arms; but the Roman arena offers only two futures: the Gate of Life for the victors or the Gate of Death for the losers.

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Review

FourStars
I was sent this book by Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.
An amazing and totally original and unique novel. Such a strong range of  female characters are depicted, courageous, brave, cunning, deadly, deceitful a complete gambit of credible and totally believable women.
Ms Justice has certainly done her research and this is evident in this convincing tale. Countries are travelled, religions explained, rituals rationalized all this while a relationship between two dominant females unfolds.
For me this novel was a learning experience in conjunction with a sensational story line. If you are looking for a novel to pique your historic interest while keeping you transfixed with an audacious narrative then this book will not disappoint.
The only reason I did not award this 5 stars was my slight disappointment with the rather conventional ending.
~Chris

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

Writers have to learn to write wherever they are. When I first started I had a demanding executive job and an infant. My favorite writing space was airport lobbies and hotel rooms. At home, in an apartment in Manhattan, I wrote on top of my husband’s clutter (we shared the computer) and daughter’s toys. When I left the corporate rat race to write full time, I wanted “a room of my own,” so we moved to a wonderful rambling Victorian in Flatbush Brooklyn. My office is in the southeast corner, so I get light all day. I have two walls of bookcases filled with my research books, a lovely cherry wood desk with pictures of my family and cats perched in odd places, a messy pile of correspondence waiting for Friday, a box of my newest book Sword of the Gladiatrix is open on the daybed. The walls are lavender (supposed to inspire creativity) and posters of my covers adorn the walls. I have a variety of incense available and classical music playing in the back ground. BUT when I write original fiction, I move to the living room couch and type on my ancient laptop. Go figure!

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

I started writing because I wanted to tell the story of Hypatia, the Lady Philosopher of Alexandria, a mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in the late fourth and early fifth century. I ran across her story at an art exhibit (The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago). She fascinated me because she was a woman of power in time when women were powerless and she was brutally murdered by a mob. I researched her life and times for several years and found dozens of overlooked women who led armies, wrote books, ruled empires, and changed history; but her story drew me first. I did eventually tell her story in the novel Selene of Alexandria (Selene is a fictional student of Hypatia’s) and collected my blog posts and other writing about her in Hypatia: Her Life and Times. As a feminist, amateur scientist, and former academic, Hypatia called to me in myriad ways. I’ll always thank her for setting on the path to historical fiction writing.

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

Definitely a librarian! I’ve had a varied career: lifeguard, paralegal, systems analyst, HR executive, and college professor. I think if I had become a librarian first, I might have stayed there. I grew up helping the Bookmobile Ladies in elementary school and working in the high school library. I have two library cards: New York City and Brooklyn. I love, love, love, the research librarians who have been such a help in my writing career. Libraries and librarians are a vital part of any neighborhood.

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill (playing an instrument, learning a sport, etc.) and writing a million words to master the craft of writing. I passed that one million mark some time ago, but I personally believe, you always keep learning. Each book offers its own particular challenges. I suppose I could wish that I had all the answers to those challenges beforehand, but where’s the fun in that? Now the publishing process! I wish someone could give me a mind meld and dump all that information into my brain.

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

I’m very pleased with the final product. I love the cover and the story. I wish I could dump a bunch more research into the story, but that would be just showing off and probably bore the readers. There’s a reason for the advice skilled writers give to beginners: “Kill your babies.” You have to ruthlessly cut anything or anyone that doesn’t enhance your story, move the plot, or develop a character. Literary writers may be able to get away with lengthy descriptions and meandering plots, but genre writers can’t.

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

Sword of the Gladiatrix was inspired by an artifact I saw in the British Museum: a first century stone carving found in Turkey showing two women with swords and shields in a fighting stance. Experts theorized they were female gladiators. I wanted to tell the story of how these two women came to face off. Where did they come from? How were they trained? How did they feel about their lives and the necessity of killing? My other books are fact-based historicals, so I had good outlines of events and some insight into personality. This was my first foray into mostly fictional characters, but Afra and Cinnia have to be of their time, place, and cultures. They exist in real history and have to react to historical events: Rome’s expedition to Kush, Boudica’s rebellion, an earthquake in Pompeii.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I’ll have another fact-based novel out by the end of the year. Twilight Empress is about Galla Placidia, a remarkable woman who ruled the Roman Empire in its waning days. I’ve also got a first draft of a companion novel called Dawn Empress to rewrite. New stories include a sequel to Sword of the Gladiatrix (about a third done), a sequel to Selene of Alexandria (got an outline), and a couple of short stories to complete a collection. So many books, so little time!

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

I live in Brooklyn, New York which has a rich history and marvelous literary tradition, but I don’t believe that influences me. I have no urge to write anything set in Brooklyn or New York. But I do appreciate the first rate library system and world class museums that are available to me. I like to travel for site visits and participate in archaeology digs, but eventually have to come home. The museums offer me the opportunity to see artifacts and art from my story’s time and place and renew my creative juices.

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

Popular science, especially neuroscience, evolution, or anything to do with archaeology. I’ve always been curious about how the world works and how people contribute to that and—of course—why my brain works like it does.

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

My absolutely worst vice is watching TV. I truly believe it rots the brain, yet nearly every evening I plop my butt on the couch and watch like a slack-jawed zombie. Several of my favorite shows are over for the season and I’ve vowed to eliminate most of them from my DVR next year. (But not, Sherlock, Orphan Black, Grey’s Anatomy, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Star Talk, The Simpsons…sigh.)

Excerpt

A slave wraps my lower legs with felted wool and straps a gilded greave to my left shin, because I fight as myrmilla. He smells of sour sweat, as do I. I’ve already fought once today, tested fate, and won. The gold sand that Nero favors in the arena still crusts my hair and rasps the skin under my sweat-soaked breast band. I will go again before the ravenous crowds to satisfy their bloodlust. For what? An emperor’s whim? The crowd’s passing fancy? A sacrifice to their gods?

I swallow the bitter gall that surges into my mouth.

Across the room, another slave straps armor on Cinnia, my beloved. She looks at me with pride in her eyes and a brief smile on her lips. We said our goodbyes last night, clasped breast to breast, thigh to thigh, a stolen moment before being sent to our lonely cells. My heart beats an irregular rhythm.

My love. Light to my dark. Fire to my ice.

Cinnia is goddess-given to me; from a land of mists and forests, so different from my country of desert and blistering sun. Without her, I would be dead. Without me, so would she. We have suffered, struggled, lived, and loved. Now we go out upon the sands of the great arena to die. One by her lover’s hands, the other by her own.

It is not the life or death I chose for myself, but it is the one the gods gave me.

 

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AuthorBio

FAITH L. JUSTICE writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, Writer’s Digest, The Copperfield Review, the Circles in the Hair anthology, and many more. She is a frequent contributor to Strange Horizons, Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine, and co-founded a writer’s workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.

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5 Stars for No Matter What (Sex & Mayhem #4) by K.A. Merikan #MM #Erotica @KA_Merikan

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Title: No Matter What (Sex & Mayhem #4)
Author Name & Publisher: K.A. Merikan (Acerbi & Villani ltd)
Publication Date & Length: April 25, 2015 – 176 pgs

Synopsis

— A gentle heart has no place in an outlaw’s chest —

Ghost. Not a member of the Coffin Nails MC. Not a doctor anymore. Not gay.
Luca. Bent, not broken. Will not let go of Ghost. No matter what.

Ghost finds out the hard way that people you meet online aren’t always who they seem to be. When he met ‘Zara’ five years ago, they became inseparable. She’s been with him through the rough and the smooth. He’s been there for her when her abusive boyfriend had her in tears.

She is The One, and despite all his friends considering him crazy, Ghost is about to propose.

But ‘Zara’ turns out to be Luca, and Luca is most definitely a guy. Yet Luca is the same person with big dark eyes, so desperate to be saved that Ghost can’t help but fall head first.

Luca’s so-called boyfriend is not just abusive. He is a Sicilian drug lord, a man dangerous and ruthless. If Ghost is to ever save the person who wreaked havoc on his heart, he has to make a deal with the Coffin Nails MC. But being a member is a destiny he’s always tried to avoid. And when a life of violence becomes too much to bear, he might be the one needing Luca to catch him when he falls.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: Outlaw motorcycle club, criminal activity, hurt/comfort, abuse, catfishing, independence, sexual orientation issues, mafia, PTSD

WARNING: Adult content. Explicit gay sex, strong language, violence, potentially triggering sexual abuse scenes. Reader discretion advised.

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Review

FiveStars

I was given this in return for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads. No Matter What is part of the series (Sex and Mayhem). The plot starts out with Ghost and Luca not knowing each other except via internet, I found it was a nice twist to the book.

The main characters were so different in this book, then the others. I found myself wondering why in the world Ghost was so different then his father with living around the bike club his whole life. Then Luca, who Ghost assumed was a woman, clung to Ghost so much I found myself quite annoyed at that.

But the love between the two was spectacular throughout the whole book.  I like just how hard they had to fight for everything.  The ending brought tears to my eyes.

This was a great addition to the series, this book wasn’t as violent as the other books in the series.  Reads great as a standalone.  I hope there is more to come from this series.  Highly recommend.

Sherry

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4 and 3 Stars for Rarer Than Rubies (Precious Gems #1) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: Rarer Than Rubies (Precious Gems #1)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 23, 2012 – 214 pgs

Synopsis

When Trent Copeland runs into Reed Acton at a Bangkok airport, he thinks the handsome American is too good to be true. Why would someone like Reed be interested in a quiet, introverted gay-romance writer? After all, even an obvious tourist like Trent can see that there is more to Reed’s constant unexplained appearances in his path than meets the eye.

Reed Acton has one mission and one mission only—he needs to get the map that was accidentally slipped into Trent’s bag and keep the mobsters who want the priceless artifact from taking deadly revenge. Trent Copeland is a delicious and damned near irresistible diversion, but Reed can’t afford distractions right now, especially if he wants to keep Trent safe.

From Bangkok’s seediest back alleys to the sacred north, the two men will fight to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and learn that the only treasure worth finding is… each other.

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Review

FourStars

This was my first time reading EM Lynley.  I LOVED….loved …loved the details the author provided about this whole journey.  As you are reading, you can picture every aspect in your mind. The attention to detail is captivating. It was a sexy, suspenseful Journey with Trent and Reed, that will keep your heart pounding until the very end. I couldn’t put this down and was very happy to have the next one, Italian Ice, at the ready!!!!

Kimberley

ThreeStar

This is the start of Trent and Reed’s journey, the moment when the romance writer and the undercover agent collide in Thailand.

I don’t think this is the best book of the series by any means. I found the character development sketchy – both men remain types, almost caricatures – Trent is a rich, high- maintenance Hollywood clothes horse while Reed is shady, resourceful and very butch. The men’s trust issues and relationship baggage become a little bit tedious over the course of the story.

Thailand is described beautifully. EM Lynley’s descriptions of the ambiance, climate, scenery and food are wonderful. But where the country comes alive, the plot remains wooly. I struggled to follow the action sequences and still didn’t fully understand what had happened by the time the characters had their fact clarifying conversation at the end of the book.

So this book is the start to a great series, but I didn’t feel it was a great story on its own. in later stories, Lynley’s characters become more appealing and her plots become more intriguing. Read this as a series introduction, but please don’t discard the series because of this book.

Sarah

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Filed under 3 Star, 4 Star, Kimberley, M/M, Review, Sarah